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Craig Bryson determined to prove his worth at St Johnstone

Soccer – UEFA Euro 2016 – Qualifying – Group D – Poland v Scotland – National Stadium Warsaw
(Image credit: John Walton)

Injuries have already hastened Craig Bryson’s Aberdeen exit – now the new St Johnstone signing is determined they will not rush him into retirement.

The former Kilmarnock and Derby ace was hoping to bring the curtain down on his career at Pittodrie.

But a year of battling a persistent ankle issue finally proved too much for both Bryson and Dons boss Derek McInnes, with the pair agreeing to go their separate ways earlier this month.

The 33-year-old has now joined Saints on a one-year deal but knows he still has his doubters – especially among the Red Army.

But Bryson is ready to prove he has plenty left to offer Callum Davidson’s Perth side.

“Fans only see you on a Saturday,” he said. “They don’t see you Monday to Friday and what you go through trying to get fit.

“They don’t see how much hard work you put in – but all the lads and the manager sees that.

“I’ve played nearly 570 games throughout my career so that proves I’m not injury prone. Yeah I had a bad season at Aberdeen from an injury I picked up while I was up there.

“We just couldn’t get it right and at the start we weren’t even quite sure what it was, so I just tried to play through it – only to discover that was making it worse.

“The fans were frustrated with the situation. They were happy when I signed up there but that changes quickly.

“In football you things to prove every day and that’s no different for me now I’m here at St Johnstone.

“People are always out to put you down and have a go at you. It’s up to you to play well and bounce back.

“Coming here, there’s maybe a bit of apprehension about because I’ve been injured for a year but the gaffer has showed a lot of faith in signing me. He knows what the problem is and what I need to do. I just want to do well for him and St Johnstone.

“And ultimately I don’t want my career to end the way it ended at Aberdeen. I actually made the move from Derby to Aberdeen so I could enjoy the last few years of my career and play with a smile on my face. That’s still the aim now I’m here at St Johnstone.

“The people who are doubting you and giving you stick, it would be good to prove them wrong.

“I’d love to get back fit and play every single game and prove them wrong in that sense. But I’m not completely driven by that. I just want to play as many games as I can before I have to hang up my boots.”

Davidson will make a late call before deciding whether to had Bryson a debut at Livingston on Saturday.

But the former Scotland cap said: “The ankle feels good. I’ve had a couple of injections in it. In terms of conditioning I hadn’t done much of that while I sorted out the move here but we’ve been building that up and I’m getting to the stage I should be fully fit within the next couple of weeks.

“The decision about this weekend will be left to the gaffer but I’m nearing full fitness and ready to go.”